Things got scary in the small college town of Charlottesville, Virginia, last night, when hundreds of torch-bearing white supremacists began marching through the city and onto the campus of the University of Virginia. The fact that the assembled group was carrying tiki torches, and not flaming crosses, made the whole thing more surreal, but not less chilling, as the gathering stomped around the city, shouting “White lives matter!” and ‘You will not replace us!” into the night. Following along on Twitter and through eyewitness accounts, the internet watched as these polo-shirted “crusaders” made themselves feel big for an evening, and then the internet did what the internet does: It dragged these motherfuckers through the mud.
Social media filled up with people watching the march from afar last night and this morning, calling for these proud “white nationalists” to be identified by name to their loved ones and employers. But, in the spirit of that old Preacher question about why “the greatest champions of the white race always turn out to be the worst examples of it,” it also took turns dunking on some of the march’s most prominent man-baby faces.
Meanwhile, there was also this thread, from Twitter user @JuliasGoat, laying out some thoughts on what the “oppression” these marchers felt they were rallying against might actually be like:
But as briefly, necessarily cathartic as all this Nazi-mockery was, it’s not the end of the fear in Charlottesville this weekend. Last night’s march was only a prelude to a much larger rally planned for today, ostensibly to protest the removal of Confederate symbols and statues from the city’s public spaces. According to CNN, the Southern Poverty Law Center has called it the “largest hate-gathering of its kind in decades in the United States,” and there are already reports of sporadic violence as the rally members, and those in town to stand against their open displays of hatred, clash. The city has now declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, and begun arresting marchers who remain, while the governor of Virginia has declared a state of emergency.